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. belva davis was the first african-american woman hired as a tv reporter on the west coast. we will talk about her ground-
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breaking career. >> and finally, the belying day is here. fs jazz is ready to taupe door to their brand new bay area home. i am seuss seuss and that is next.
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. welcome to the show. i am susan sikora. look up ground breaker and you should see a picture of belva
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davis. she defied the odds and became the first african-american reporter to work in television on the west coast. it has been quite a journey. what do you love about having worked in the bay area. >> my god, because the bay area loves me back. that is why. nothing better than having a romance. >> when i started in the business, i was asked to do news conferences and i was mistaken for a worker in a fancy hotel more than once. i had people that didn't want to walk down the street with me, photographers, who were not yet ready to being a mixed race couple. you have your gender moments, racial moments. the journalistic moments. they are all part of what makes you who you are. 1964. one of those famous conventions in modern times. >> and you were working then
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for -- . >> black radio. a totally segregated medium market back then. president ice hour said something that set off the dixie crats. they had scared everybody else into silence and came-my news director and i and literally drove us from the building, throwing things at us. whatever you are in a mob scene and you don't know who will come to your rescue, you know this is not your group. i didn't even know if the guards would respond to our safety, to protect us, yes. i knew i had to survive in this environment. it was stop the draft, stop the war, free speech, all the various ethnic studies, and then out of that came the
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woman's movement. people hesitated to tell america about the changes taking place. it was absolutely exhilarating. i never doubted that i was not doing what i should be doing. crime in the trip to africa was new level of journalism to me, after the bombing of the embassies there, to be an american journalist in the city doing the aftermath. aftermath was so important because you could hear thousands of people injured, people still in hospitals. we had to tell the world about it. i could go on the road and count the people living in this geography that show a lot of caring. so many things i watched happen
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that i thought, wow! wow! you know. you just say to yourself, you are lucky to be here. >> an 8-time emmy winner, belva hosted "this week in northern california" for almost 20 years. she shares the details in her life and career in" never in my wildest dreams" now out in paperbook. welcome back, belva. >> who is that ancient woman! [ laughing ] >> no! i have been reading this. i am element done with it. i am tell -- i am almost done with it. i am telling you, who do you want to may you in the movie? it is a good story. i hope it is a movie! >> first, i want that to become a problem in my life. there are a whole bunch of people i could name. i mean, it was -- this would be something beyond my dreams. i thought get this story out just for the historical facts so that young, black
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reporters, young anything reporters could see what the world is like before they arrived on the scene with the cell phones and technology of today. >> how difficult was it -- you were the first really in many cases woman and first black woman. >> yes. >> so, you had to deal with obstacles in both. you dealt with both the gender obstacles and the racial obstacles. it almost seems like i better not do this. how much of that was on your head before you opened your mouth in front of a microphone if. >> i had no clear picture because there was no example. there was nothing to show me what it may be like. in a way that was really good because everything came as a new challenge and my solution had to be as valid as anybody's could be because nobody else could work that problem out, the whole thing about color, race and hair, all those things had not been problems the first time they had the
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make-up artists come from l.a. here. they looked at me and said keep on doing what you are doing, because they had nothing to lose except the make-up they did for elizabeth taylor! [ laughing ] >> i heard somebody talking about make-up, for instance. if you say natural, that means nothing to a black woman because there is no such thing as natural. now things are better but at that time -- and the other thing about your hair, while you are on the cosmetic thing. tell them the story. >> it is no secret black hair is curly. i went out on assignment covering martin luther king when he was in the bay area. it was a day that was damp and drizzly. my hair started chemically straightened but by the time the day was over it turned into a large puffball. the cameramen were shooting and saying my god, what happened to your hair? i just started to laugh
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because he had not seen that formation. now we are open with all of our cultural strengths and weaknesses. i don't think you would find an issue even if a woman turned up with purple hair. >> you said the word open. i think that is a good distributive of this book. you are very open about -- your childhood was tough. your mom was only 14 when she had you, clearly not quipped to raise you. you were passed on from relative to relative and you were molested as a child, as well. a lot of stuff people don't know. >> my mom left in i dad because she married too young and had babies too quick. when she ran away she left me in a household full of males and bad things will happen in that environment. >> i kept worrying -- my heart was almost breaking in the beginning of this, because you
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are waiting for somebody to love you and say you can stay here. aunt pearline to come through. >> my mother's sister was my savior throughout most of my child. >> going you through that task, some kids it would break them, turn them to a life of crime or make them give up. did it bring anything to the job at hand when you were made the first reporter? >> i think it made me realize who i am as a person. one of my mentor, howard therman, had a line that said all of us spend some time waiting to hear the genuines in ourselves. given the challenge and opportunity, you go to that space. it is from there that you decide you will be the ones to pull the strings in your life, not someone else.
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and i am misquoting therman, but if you look him up, you can find it in the life guide along with something i wrote for myself. >> we will continue with belva in a moment. this woman has not just seen history and had a front row seat, you have been in the midst of it, having bricks thrown at her. and you met martin luther king, jr. by the way. since tomorrow is martin luther king day, we will talk about that and the inauguration, among other things when we return.
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. we are talking to belva davis, one-of-a-kind, pioneering and paving the way for all women in broadcasting. >> yes. there were women on the east coast -- not on the west coast -- but who were there. >> why do you think that is? even though i grew up on the east coast, i always thought the west coast was a little more innovative. >> exactly. especially in los angeles. the l.a. cbs station hired their first black woman and i assisted that. so, we were not only the coast, but we were the center- point. >> quickly tell that story. you alluded to it a little in the piece. you want to cover a fashion show at the fairmont.
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they sent you out to kpix to do this and they said female flop, send the girls or woman for a story on cooking or fashion. tell what happened when you went in? >> i went in with a photographer with a camera on his back. i am carrying a tripod as tall as me. i walk in and this woman runs out and she is all frustrated and she says my god, you are late. my god, you are late. i am glad you are here. she goes on and she says she was waiting for me to do the ironing. i said with the lights, camera, cameramen and tripod, does it look like i am here to do the ironing? the first time and only time i walked off an assignment because i was personally confronted. >> and they understood at the station that is why you did that? >> oh, yes. >> okay. you talked to martin luther king, you interviewed castro.
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okay, but you met dr. martin luther king, jr. it was kind of an unexpected meeting because the first job was at a radio station. you were doing the traffic and -- . >> yes, i was working the black operated programs. he was a friend of our national salesmen, when wasn't there to do an event. he was there to it is and relax and find a moment to be quiet and i was the traffic manager. i kept the commercials going and i always worked late so i was there at night. he would come occasionally to visit his frienders frank clark and i would almost always be there and the single day was when frank walked in with dr. king and he said you nomar tin, don't new i said no, i don't nomar tin. of course there were many occasions where i covered him on actual events. >> >> and you said you were on the phone with bill, your husband, right? >> yes. >> you said bill, you will never guess who is here! >> yes.
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[ laughing ] >> martin luther king talked about a dream. >> he did. >> you have never in my wildest dream in the book. and there are people now who have dream to do things. maybe their dreams have been dashed by the economy, by bad luck, you are too old, too fat, too this, to that, whatever it is. what do you say to somebody who has a dream now. >> they are lucky, because if you have a dream -- this was my little motto that i wrote for myself. don't be afraid of the space between the dream and your reality. because if you can dream it that mean us visualize it and it is genuineness. you can occasionally find that in life. then you can do it. not all of them work out, but so many times it will. it is worth the risk of failure to try. >> you were 5'1". >> yes. >> and they told you to lose
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ten pounds! >> you were in the middle of covering -- i am guessing one of the most dangerous things you did -- the people's park situation in berkeley. all of a sudden you are in the middle of all this. it is a demonstration, riot and crowds. >> and there are weapons and gun shots. >> and you said there were flying bricks that missed you luckily enough. how frightened were you and did you ever have a moment maybe this is a last story, i will go back and look for something else to do? >> no, i didn't get there and i should have because i had two children at home. i had a husband who gave up his career to take care of the children so i could go out and learn how to be a television reporter. but there is something about that reaching from within that keeps you going despite whatever the world is saying around you. that was the day -- i have to admit, it was not an easy day. but i learned about myself. a strength came from somewhere that kept me focused and able
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to communicate with students on that day. and able to report without looking at how to make myself a hero in that scene, and that is one thing new reporters have to always worry about. >> not an original question here, but i am not going to ask you do you have any regrets, but in the back of the book you thank people and you thank your children. >> yes, i do. >> you almost imply maybe i may have been there, maybe i wasn't there at the time. because they were young and you were a workaholic. >> no point in trying to apologize for that. no one could have with stood those strong winds coming from the other way without somebodiality their back. that was my -- somebody at their back. that was my husband who was there with my children because i knew he loved them as much as i did and somehow we managed to make it through. >> god bless bill! >> yes.
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>> unbelievable. and nancy wilson, friends with bill cosby writes the forward to the book. we talk about a lot of books on the show and i am recommending this one. it is called "never in my wildest dreams" written by belva dais. she has hosted her last in -- davis. she has mosted her last in northern california -- . >> but i will don't talk to wonderful people. >> we look forward to talking to you again, belva. >> thank you, susan. >> thank you so much. you are wonderful.
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. it began in 1983 as jazz in the city. today ssj is called the best jazz festival in the world. they present legendary new musicians, encourage jazz and students to follow their own musical dreams. now they are getting their own home on franklin street. the fs jazz center will open the first free standing building for jazz in the country. for how this will expand what is already a huge musical success adding to our city's world class status, we welcome menu, exposer, grammy nominee and director of fs jazz,
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rebeck la deleon. welcome! >> thank you. >> it is a busy day tomorrow. the president is being sworn in. the inauguration is happening in washington. it is mlk, jr. day. guess what, i assume this is not an accident on the day meant to honor martin luther king, jr. >> absolutely not. we wanted to have the vitality of the folks in the area hosting this event for them. there will be concerts, festivities. lots of activities for children. we will show a film that highlights the history of the organization and the high- falutin' event with lots of celebrities and wonderful artists. there is something for everyone. >> yes. the story of this -- you know i love this organization and i was introduced people on stage. you have asked me graciously to
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do that. i love doing it. it has been an honor. but you move around from venue to venue, which gives you an opportunity to do a bunch of things at one time, but understand, you will have a home now. >> we will continue to be semiknowmatic, when we need thousands of people in the audience, we will be in various spaces. there will be a lot more of a mix but the goal of the building was always to have a home and a vital place for this music to not only be presented but taught. this is a rendering of the theater. this is a beautiful theater. you are seeing the sort of open
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700 seat theater configuration. >> it is round. i like that. >> yes. it is great seating inspired by a lot of amphitheaters. our founder randall kline was interested in speaking to artists and find out their vision and their best venues. so, one musician said he loved the idea of being able to look in the audiences' eyes. it is an extraordinary idea to connect with the audience. the goal of the theater is to combine the intimacy of a club with the grandeur of a concert hall. >> if you it is in the balcony, you may be able to may eye contact with the pianist or performer? >> yes. you can actually it is behind the pi anist and look down at their hands. it is pretty extraordinary. >> wow! what will go on there? you do it all. you bring in the big names and
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you are also mentoring the young kids. so, where do you go from here? >> we have the flexibility of having the large concert hall configured into a smaller space. that is the goal, to highlight the amazing talent we have in the bay area. we have a small ensemble room called the joe henderson lab named for our wonderful tenor saxophonist named joe henderson. it is also a multipurpose room that re-hers the bands in. education programs, a flexible space. >> you will be doing a lot more? >> a lot more.
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>> this was a $60 million prompt. in these economic time, how did you do it? >> it started with a $20 million gift toward the project. a wonderful contribution. once that got going the open hearts and wallace started. i believe now we are almost at the peak and we will be able to expand the education initiative. >> how will you introduce this place to people with out a lot of money but have a passion for jazz and are talented and want to perform. >> bell, that was part of the goal and initiative. we want so have access to the community and give them access to us. a lot of the programs are low cost or free. we have family programs and educationnishties. we have programs in the community. the goal is, of course, flexible pricing. a lot of programs affordable. scholarships available to teens
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and adults for any program. it is a goal for us to continue the presence in the community, to make sure the music is for the people, not just something presented in somewhat of a distant way. >> we have a minute left. i want to ask to you end on where it started, because i think this is the story that gives everybody hope. first of all, it is real. when randall kline start this had 30 years ago, he put this little thing together, this little jazz festival. they loved it as an artistic success but commercially he lost money and a lot of his friends said forget about it or get out of it. >> his vision was not only to persevere in presenting the art form to find out what jazz was missing. the mission is this gathering place of culture. the place where people will be able to come together and reframe the idea of what a concert venue is about. some people like the club. some people like the concert hall. some people like the school.
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we thought with his vision of what was missing and his trip to the east coast, he was inspired but what he saw. >> this will open tomorrow on martin luther king day. you can visit the new jazz center at the corner of fell and franklin streets in san francisco. learn all the about it at their website at sfjazz.org. we leave you now with sf jazz favorite, esperanza spalding. thank you for watching. i am susan sikora.

tv
Bay Area Focus With Susan Sikora
KBCW January 20, 2013 8:00am-8:30am PST

Series/Special.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 5, Martin Luther King 4, Joe Henderson 2, Martin Luther 2, Susan Sikora 2, Randall Kline 2, Davis 2, Northern California 2, L.a. 2, Howard Therman 1, Elizabeth Taylor 1, Frank Clark 1, Wallace 1, Dr. King 1, Falutin 1, Nomar Tin 1, Esperanza Spalding 1, Belva 1, Kpix 1, Jr. 1
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